Manual Cinema Revitalizes Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein -

In their fresh take on a timeless novel, Chicago-based performance art collective Manual Cinema transcends the barriers of conventional theater, as part of Performance Santa Fe’s 2023 – 2024 season. By ingeniously fusing shadow puppetry, innovative cinematic techniques, evocative sound effects, and a haunting live musical score, the company breathes new life into Mary Shelley’s enduring tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his creation. Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein comes to life at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, September 26, 2023, 7:30 p.m.

This rendition does not just stop at retelling the famed story — it dives deeper, exploring the life of its author, Mary Shelley, drawing poignant parallels between her experiences and the themes in her novel. It also delves into the profound implications of creation, investigating the complexities of identity and probing into how family, community, and education can either mold one’s personhood or, tragically, lead to its unraveling. Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein does not just tell a tale but initiates a compelling discourse on human nature, societal expectations, and the consequences of isolation.

“We are so excited to welcome Manual Cinema for its New Mexico debut performance,” says Amy Iwano, Executive + Artistic Director of Performance Santa Fe. ” This innovative collective electrifies Mary Shelley’s magnum opus for today’s audience. In the hands of these adept creators, Frankenstein becomes more than the story we know and love; it’s an extraordinary journey that captivates and challenges the mind, the heart, and the imagination.”

Who’s Who in Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein

The cast for Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein includes Sarah Fornace, as Victor Frankenstein and Mary Shelley; Julia Miller, as the Creature and Elizabeth Frankenstein; Jyreika Guest, as Percy Shelley; Sara Sawicki as Lord Byron; and Myra Su is the puppeteer. Musicians are Peter Ferry on percussion; Jason Gresl on clarinets and aux percussion; Lia Kohl on cello, aux percussion, and vocals; and Emma Hospelhorn on flutes, aux percussion, and piano.

Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein was conceived and directed by Drew Dir, and devised by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, and Julia Miller. Original music and sound design by Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter. Shadow puppet design by Drew Dir with Lizi Breit. 3D creature puppet design byy Lizi Breit. Productions and scenic design by Rasean Davonte Johnson. Costume and wig design by Mieka van der Ploeg. Prop design by Lara Musard. Lighting design by Claire Chrzan.

About Manual Cinema

Manual Cinema is an Emmy Award winning performance collective, design studio, and film/video production company founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller, and Kyle Vegter. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen.

Manual Cinema
The brilliant minds behind Manual Cinema bring Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankentein to life for Performance Santa Fe’s 2023-2024 season.

Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi- channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity, and theatricality. The company was awarded an Emmy in 2017 for “The Forger,” a video created for The New York Times and named Chicago Artists of the Year in 2018 by the Chicago Tribune. Their shadow puppet animations are featured in the film remake of Candyman, directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions. Recent productions include Leonardo! A Wonderful Show about a Terrible Monster, based on books by Mo Willems, and an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

About Performance Santa Fe

Performance Santa Fe has been bringing the world’s best music, dance, and theater to iconic Santa Fe locations since 1937. The organization upholds excellence in the performing arts and brings joy and enrichment to the community. Alongside its extensive performance season, the organization runs dynamic, exciting, and inclusive educational programs for students in the community. Experience the extraordinary: Performance Santa Fe’s 2023–24 season, featuring 24 performances of music, dance, and theater. Learn more at the Performance Santa Fe website.

$20 Rush tickets are available day of the performance, based on availability. Student/educator and family discounts are also available. Purchase your tickets today! For more information on Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein, visit the website.

This article was posted by David Salcido

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